Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)

This is one of those 1980s comedies that’s been on my “Why haven’t I seen this yet” list for a long time, and much to my delight, I discovered that not only was it worth the wait, but that it’s even better than I thought it might be. I recently saw “The Hustle,” which is a virtual shot-for-shot remake, but even knowing the movie’s twists and surprises ahead of time I still found this to be a charming, entertaining delight. Michael Caine and Steve Martin have an impressive amount of chemistry despite their disparate onscreen personas and acting styles while their interactions provide most of the movie’s big laughs, and they’re well-served by a consistently intelligent and funny screenplay. There’s also Glenne Headley’s breakthrough performance, which makes perfect use of the performer’s good-natured passivity and unexpectedly diverse range, and it’s easy to see why the role made her famous. The movie also benefits from its French riviera location shooting, which gives each scene a distinct, gorgeous visual look that’s heightened by top-rate set dressing and costuming.

Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)


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